Managing sustainability, often called ‘governance’, refers to the policies and procedures your business has in place to guide sustainability activities while ensuring compliance with regulations and legislation.
Sustainability governance refers to the managing of an organisation in such a way that it is operated in-line with all laws and promotes a good life for all, now and far into the future.
Businesses often coordinate and manage sustainability activities through the use of an overarching sustainability strategy, defining short-, medium-, and long-term goals and targets they wish to achieve, and outlining how these targets will be reached. Strategies are then supported by policies and procedures.
Examples of sustainability-related policies include, but are not limited to, Health and Safety, Ethics, Responsible Purchasing, Modern Slavery, Employee Health and Wellbeing, and Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion.
The achievement of green accreditations, such as Green Tourism Business Scheme or Green Key, is used by many businesses to showcase good management of sustainability.
Effective sustainability management ultimately helps you achieve your sustainability aims – without it, initiatives are more likely to lose momentum and fizzle out.
Good governance increases your ability to comply with regulation and mitigates risks you may face in the future.
Well-managed sustainability programmes can positively impact your staff and business efficiency, with reports showing businesses with sustainability programmes report:
✓ 55% better employee morale
✓ 43% more efficient business processes, and
✓ 38% improved employee loyalty.
Managing sustainability successfully can also help improve your business’s reputation.
By setting targets and regularly communicating your progress, customers will know your business’s commitment to sustainability and can make their purchasing decisions based on that.
Five top tips for better managing sustainability in your business are presented below.
Create a green, or sustainability, statement or strategy
STEP 1 Choose which areas of sustainability are most important to you and write down what you are already doing to address them.
STEP 2 Write a few lines, a paragraph, or even a page or two, about how you are going to work on improving these aspects of sustainability.
STEP 3 Share it somewhere! Post it on your website, on social media, around your premises, etc. This will engage staff and customers in what you are trying to achieve.
Allocate resources to sustainability
Allocate staff time and budget, however small, for green purposes. This will help ensure that actions are planned effectively and completed.
Create policies to support green initiatives
Create sustainability-related policies to give structure and guidance to staff and operations. Example policies include; Staff Health and Wellbeing, Code of Conduct, Ethical Charter, Responsible Purchasing (see Supplier section for more on this topic), Anti-corruption, and Human Rights.
Conduct an accessibility audit
Regularly (at least every 5 years) complete an accessibility audit to establish how well your business caters to the needs of a wide range of potential users, including those with physical and ‘non visible’ disabilities.
An accessibility audit should identify all barriers to the participation of disabled staff and customers, highlighting parts of your business that need improving to ensure inclusivity.
Look at green accreditations
Apply for tourism-related green accreditations to get official recognition of your sustainability work. Accreditations often have strict criteria which can provide a good starting point for managing sustainability within your business. Two common (there are many other) tourism-related green accreditations are:
Follow the links above to get an understanding of the criteria you must meet to obtain each accreditation.
Who is Brackenborough Hall?
Brackenborough Hall is an award-winning self catering accommodation provider, offering space for 16-24 people across its three apartments, located on an 800-acre working farm.
What is the business doing?
Brackenborough Hall developed an Environmental Statement 10 years ago with the aim of ensuring it contributed to the preservation of natural beauty and the local community. The statement outlines how the aspects of sustainability which are important to the business are addressed on a day-to-day basis and serves as a great tool to engage customers and staff with sustainability.
What can my business do?
Have you created an environmental statement or policy to outline your commitment to sustainability? Writing down how your business is going to address a few key areas of sustainability helps provide a framework for improving your green performance. Use the rest of this toolkit to work out which areas of green tourism are important to your business.
‘Some customers get really involved in our sustainability aims as we offer prizes for guests arriving without a car. Someone managed to cycle all the way from Cambridge!’
Paul and Flora Bennett, Owners
Sustaining the environment
The Bennett family are third generation farmers at Brackenborough Hall & Coach House near Louth. Fifteen years ago the predominantly arable farming business diversified to include self-catering accommodation for visitors. In this short film we take a look at how proprietors, Flora & Paul, apply sustainable and environmentally friendly practices to the everyday running of the business – and discover what being green means to them.
Learn how sustainable businesses and people go hand-in-hand.
Learn how your business affects our planet, and what you can do to reduce the negative impacts.
Understand how your business both impacts, and is impacted by, your local place.
Learn how you can capitalise on government schemes to improve your business.
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